Skip to main content

Minnesota humanitarian dies while working disaster response after Haiti earthquake

The 48-year-old woman was rushed by air to Miami.
Haiti earthquake 2010

Destruction in Haiti from the 2010 earthquake. 

A Minnesota native died unexpectedly while working with a U.S. disaster response team in Haiti following the island nation's devastating earthquake.

Tresja Denysenko, 48, is described by the USAID's Disaster Assistance Response Team as a "tireless disaster response expert" with the agency's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance." 

Her death was announced Aug. 19, though details of how she died were not released. A priest, however, in a Facebook post, said Denysenko "suffered a cerebral hemorrhage" Wednesday night. She was then airlifted to Miami where she was pronounced dead. 

"Originally from Minnesota, Tresja is survived by her husband and daughter, as well as her mother and stepfather," the USAID announced. "She is remembered as a beloved wife, mother, daughter, and dear friend. Tresja’s kindness and heartfelt passion for providing humanitarian assistance and improving the lives of people in need touched many communities around the world and here at home."

Among the numerous disasters she assisted at in the past 16 years are the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the West Africa Ebola outbreak, the Venezuela regional crisis, and the conflicts in South Sudan and the Tigray region of Ethiopia. 

"In all of her postings, she played a critical role in providing aid to the world’s most deprived and marginalized people," USAID said. "Tresja was also an inspiring mentor, training staff across the Bureau on how to deliver aid quickly and appropriately to save lives in some of the world’s most complex and dire humanitarian crises."

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The death toll in Haiti from the August 14 7.2-magnitude earthquake has surpassed 2,100, in addition to 12,000+ injured and more than 300 still missing. Haitian officials estimate there are around 600,000 people in need of assistance, while an estimated 500,000 children have limited or no access to food, safe water or shelter. 

In January 2010 a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near Haiti capital Port-au-Prince, killing around 250,000 people and injuring at least 300,000 others. 

Next Up

image

With 48 charged, aftershocks of Feeding Our Future fraud case continue

The Minnesota Department of Education is seeking to recoup taxpayer money lost in a "sham lawsuit" related to the alleged fraud.

Screen Shot 2022-09-21 at 12.46.46 PM

Charges: Ineligible man had guns, over 15,000 rounds of ammo

A search of the man's vehicle and house turned up multiple firearms.

LilahLongRochester

Missing Rochester girl is found safe

She had been reported missing after last being seen Monday.

Screen Shot 2022-09-21 at 7.18.30 AM

Here are the largest hail reports to NWS Twin Cities Tuesday night

River Falls got hit by some massive hail Tuesday night.

15023280003_855bb1dcbe_k

Police: Man jumped on train, attacked engineer with knife near St. Cloud

The rock train had just left St. Cloud when the suspect jumped aboard.

Related

Andrea "Andi" Nyberg

Minnesota woman who went missing Friday found dead Monday

The 80-year-old woman had been reported missing Friday.

Shannon Barron

Conservation officer dies while responding to a call in northern MN

The 48-year-old was responding to an accident when he had a medical emergency.

Brainerd woman dies after clothes catch on fire

She was air lifted to the Twin Cities but didn't survive the injuries.

ambulance

Rochester woman found dead in the snow after leaving senior residence

The woman left the senior living center around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

ambulance

Woman who died in crash after car lost tire in Minneapolis is ID'd

The 35-year-old Minneapolis woman was originally from Mahnomen.

Amanda Bjork

Body of missing woman recovered from lake on Minnesota's Iron Range

The 30-year-old hadn't been seen since Friday, June 25.

Minnesota woman dies in Wisconsin motorcycle crash

The 48-year-old woman was from Ramsey, Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2021-03-30 at 11.17.39 AM

Donations pour in for family of woman, 25, who died hours after giving birth

Around 700 women die every year in the U.S. from pregnancy or delivery complications.